State Department Probes Howard Gutman Prostitution Allegations

Claims 'Zero Tolerance' for Sexual Hijinx

getty images

By Reuters

Published June 11, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The State Department said on Tuesday it was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by overseas staff including a report that an ambassador patronized prostitutes after a leaked memo said the agency had ignored the misbehavior.

CBS News this week reported it had obtained an internal State Department inspector general’s memo that said several investigations into possible cases of misconduct were influenced, manipulated or called off.

The memo, according to CBS, listed eight examples of alleged misconduct. They include allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards, and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries” - a problem the report says was “endemic.”

The memo, CBS said, alleges an underground drug ring operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which supplied State Department contractors with drugs. It said a U.S. ambassador in a sensitive diplomatic post was suspected of “patronizing prostitutes in a public park,” according to CBS.

Although the CBS report did not identify employees alleged to have been involved, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman issued a statement on Tuesday denying he did anything wrong.

“I am angered and saddened by the baseless allegations that have appeared in the press and to watch the four years I have proudly served in Belgium smeared is devastating,” Gutman said.

“I live on a beautiful park in Brussels that you walk through to get to many locations and at no point have I ever engaged in any improper activity.”

A spokesman for the State Department’s Office of Inspector General said on Tuesday the allegations were being investigated and former officials with law enforcement experience were hired to help with the investigation.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters the memo included “a number of unsubstantiated accusations.”

“Prior to the drafting of this memo, the Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security had already started looking into or completed the process of looking into these individual incidents,” Psaki said. “All of these cases have been and will be brought…to their logical conclusions.”

Psaki said, “The notion that we would not vigorously pursue criminal misconduct is not only preposterous, it’s inaccurate.”

‘ZERO TOLERANCE’

The White House vowed no tolerance for misconduct.

“We’re not going to prejudge anyone or anything before all the facts are determined,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said at his daily briefing. “I want to make clear the president has zero tolerance for misconduct by any government employee.”

Internal State Department investigations are conducted by the Diplomatic Security service, which protects Secretary of State John Kerry and ambassadors. An inspector general’s report in February found shortcomings in the Diplomatic Security service’s ability to investigate problems, a problem currently under review by the State Department.

The inspector general spokesman also said cases in which criminal behavior was found would be referred to the Justice Department. Staff found to have broken internal rules would be subject to administrative disciplinary action, he added.

In a letter to Kerry, Representative Ed Royce, a Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs committee, said Tuesday he was “deeply troubled” by the allegations in the CBS report and called for a thorough investigation.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.